Friday, November 02, 2012

The Concept of Halloween

Hilly & Billy
Native girl
Halloween came and went barely noticeable.  I was at a business meeting in fact, so there were no bowls of candy waiting for the one or two trick or treaters I normally get.  Gradually things are changing here as more and more North Americans and Europeans immigrate.

It was once my favourite holiday.  I had a huge collection of costumes.  But as the years pass, living in New Zealand, the novelty has started to wear off.  Maybe it's age but I truly believe that if I was still living in Canada, I'd be dressing up and cancelling all business plans to hand out candy to cute kids threatening to trick if I don't treat.  Awwww.

As you can see by my photos, I was really good at dressing up.  I had some pretty cool costumes.  These are just a small percentage of the costumes I've worn.  I could do a whole collage of costumes!  Maybe I'll do that next year.

I was admiring my Canadian friends photos on Facebook today, they are all still very much into the Halloween costume thing which makes me feel incredibly proud.

Saying that, I am beginning to think that Halloween needs to change.  These are some key factors which make me think Halloween isn't necessary and why I disagree with it coming to New Zealand.

Wellington 7's

Wellington 7's
Wellington 7's

Wellington 7's
1.  Kiwis love to dress up any time of the year.  The parties are often "fancy dress" which doesn't mean wear a fancy dress... it means wear a costume!  There have been a number of Canadians turn up to fancy dress parties wearing cocktail dresses.  Ooops.  Often the parties are themed (ie. Things beginning with the letter "T" or recently I knew someone who had a Pulp Fiction party) so you can't just have one token costume - you need to put some thought and effort into it. 
Wellington Rugby 7's

Wellington Rugby 7's
2.  New Zealand has Rugby 7's.  If you've ever seen a Rugby 7's game, it's all about the costumes.  I went to the Wellington Sevens a few years ago and let me just say - a lot of the people in the crowd are there to dress up and see what everyone else is wearing.  The rugby is awesome but it's secondary for most.

3.  We're heading into summer down here - which means long days and warm temperatures.  It just isn't right celebrating a spooky holiday when the sun is beaming.  It's not even pumpkin season for heaven's sake!

4.  It is not part of the Kiwi culture, so why are we shoving it in their face?   Kiwis celebrate Guy Fawkes - a guy who set fire to Parliament.  They light firecrackers (which are illegal in most countries) and celebrate blowing shit up.  Embrace that!

5.  Kiwis don't understand the whole "trick or treat" thing.  I had a lady in for a massage today complaining about a 5 year old who knocked at her door last night saying "Trick or Treat".  My client asked the little girl to do a trick before she handed her the "lollies" (as they call them here).  The little girl bluntly said, "you're supposed to give me lollies."  No one gets it.  So then what's the point?

Disco Babes

When I was a kid, trick or treating was all about the strategy of getting as much candy as possible because we just didn't GET candy throughout the year.  I had to make my Halloween candy last for a whole year!  By the end of year I recall desperately chewing on those molasses candies just to get a sugar fix.  I had to hide my candy from my brother because he'd eat all the good stuff when I was sleeping.

Hillbilly family photo

 Halloween was also about getting out and socializing with your neighbourhood.  What a GREAT way to know who was in the neighbourhood, for both the kids and the adults.  For the adults, it was a way to see how much the kids were growing up.  For the kids, it was a great way to figure out which houses were safe and which ones weren't kid friendly.  This was back in the day when we all roamed freely and our parents didn't know where we were!  Those were the days.

It's not trick FOR treat... it's trick OR treat.  That basically meant, "gimme a treat or I'll play a trick".  I know that sounds threatening but it was in keeping with the whole neighbourly theme.  If a house didn't turn it's lights on and didn't hand out candy, they were likely to be toilet papered.  Now that was a lot of fun!  Today, toilet paper is too expensive and it would be wasteful.

At the Hillbilly Hoe-down
Madonna & Howard Stern
Frankly, I don't see the point to trick or treating any more.  We did it out of necessity.  Now it's just begging.  I can understand why the elderly client I had was annoyed by the rudeness of that 5 year old.  She was demanding candy and didn't understand why it should be given to her.  Kids today already get enough sweets, they don't have the same hard up desire to walk for miles to collect candy to support their habit because their habit is supported by their co-dependent parents.  Now kids are driven trick or treating!  DRIVEN from house to house to beg for candy that their parents eat half of (and tell the kids that it wasn't wrapped properly so it wasn't "safe" - you know you do it).

Random use of figure skating costumes
Super Social Butterfly
I think we need more "fancy dress" parties instead.  Going to a fancy dress party allows you to let loose and get into a character.  It's a great way to break the ice and start conversation.  This is why we love to dress up.  It allows us to put on a social mask and let down our personal insecurities and barriers.

My personal favourite costume of all time was my "Super Social Butterfly" hero costume.  I love dressing up for any occasion.  Loved... past tense.  I love how Canadians get into Halloween - I do miss it. 

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